According to a recent study published by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the Philippines is losing over PHP 110 billion (USD 1.9 billion) annually due to cancer. Out of this cost, around PHP 40 billion (USD 704 million) are medical costs such as hospital expenses. The majority, PHP 70 billion (USD 1.2 billion), are indirect costs, which cover the PIDS’ estimate of when the cancer patient and the family are unable to go to work, as well as transportation costs. Overall, this total yearly economic cost represents around 1% of the country’s gross domestic product.
Dr. Val Ulep, a health economist and a senior research fellow at PIDS, also shared that if this is not addressed, it is likely that the above-mentioned economic cost of cancer will double in the next 20 years. This is a burden to the government, but more to the patients as large expenses have a high chance to impoverish households.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Dr. Edgar Christian Cuaresma, who leads the oncology department at the Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, is actively investigating methods to connect with a large number of cancer patients, recognizing the constraints in treatment resources.